Big media loves stories that vilify someone because it sells papers or grabs eyeballs. Over the last couple of months, information security (or insecurity) has provided dozens of opportunities for media to create heroes and villains.
One of the countries that are constantly vilified is China and many consumers looking for their next cell phone are wondering if they should buy a Huawei cell phone or not. Every once in a while, I get an email from a reader wondering what the risk is of buying a “Chinese made mobile device”.
It is important to remember that Huawei is a 30 billion dollar plus company and that it is unlikely that they would risk their entire business just to “bug” your cell phone. Could they? Sure but so could any other foreign company including LG, Sharp, Samsung, etc. These companies could build deep logic intelligence into their devices chips but it is safe to assume that someone would eventually detect these types of data flow and cause havoc for that company.
If you handle data worth stealing, you are probably already sensitized to proper security hygiene and take appropriate security measures. Remember that you can be spied on by malware that can easily find its way on your phone software (and they really don’t need to build it into the out of factory device).
For the average consumer, you shouldn’t disregard a good phone from a foreign manufacturer just because you’re afraid it may be an espionage tool. I doubt a foreign country is interested in pictures of yesterday’s supper, your movies rendez-vous SMSs or your email to your doctor about your bunions.